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Ears + Coughing = ???

Page-Page- Registered User regular
edited February 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
Whenever I clean my ears I am taken by uncontrollable coughing. I've never met anyone else like this, and I've never heard of it before. The basic principle is that if I insert something into my ear and fiddle around a bit, I will start to cough. It happens every time.

It's not a problem or anything, I'm just curious. Has anyone heard of this, or does anyone have an idea what might cause it?

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    pacbowlpacbowl Los AngelesRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I have the exact same issue, but it only happens in my left ear. I've had it since I was a kid and have been curious about it too.

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    MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I know from experience that throat infections can make your ears hurt. So maybe there's a nerve or something that runs through both?

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    ENTs study all of that because of how closely related they are.
    I hope you aren't cleaning in your ear canal.

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    KillgrimageKillgrimage Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I personally think of it as my body's response to sticking stuff in there...as in, don't do it.

    I have an overactive wax gland, or whatever, so I end up with giant, 0.9g balls of wax. However, I don't use Q-tips, just try to jet warm water in there using a bulb or the shower head. Try that instead?

    Killgrimage on
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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    My ENT says to only wipe with a tissue. Only grab what's already out.

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    CBG BlenderCBG Blender Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited February 2011
    Page- wrote: »
    Whenever I clean my ears I am taken by uncontrollable coughing. I've never met anyone else like this, and I've never heard of it before. The basic principle is that if I insert something into my ear and fiddle around a bit, I will start to cough. It happens every time.

    It's not a problem or anything, I'm just curious. Has anyone heard of this, or does anyone have an idea what might cause it?


    Sticking things in your ear canal and/or irritating it can trigger cough reflexes. However, the general rule is "Don't stick anything in your ear smaller than your elbow." As in: Don't stick stuff in your ear canal. If you have a wax problem, there are over-the-counter drops you can purchase that will dissolve it and help gently remove it. Other than that, the most I've ever heard recommended for a person to do to clear their ears is to clean the outer part with a washcloth - Never the ear canal.

    CBG Blender on
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    NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    If I had to guess, maybe your eustachian tubes get irritated somehow? They connect your ears with the back of the throat, and I guess that could potentially explain your issue, at least in part.

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    FiggyFiggy Fighter of the night man Champion of the sunRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    However, the general rule is "Don't stick anything in your ear smaller than your elbow."

    I thought it was, "Don't stick anything in your ear other than your elbow." Cause, you know, that'd be impossible.

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    RaneadosRaneados police apologist you shouldn't have been there, obviouslyRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    This is a normal reaction of sticking things in your ear, as far as I know

    unless you've burst an ear drum, you shouldn't be able to reach the tube itself with the qtip, but the pressure change of ramming a qtip into your ear canal can cause some tickling of your throat, as your ears and nose and throat are all interconnected (thus why ear nose and throat doctors exist)

    natural human response, the reason you've never met anyone else who has this is because everyone else you've met is probably not sticking qtips into their ears, which you're not supposed to do

    Q tips are for the ear itself and the veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery opening of the ear, swabbing it and cleaning

    do not plunge your ears



    edit: HUH, afte a little digging, find out that nope not all people have this

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auricular_nerve
    In a small portion of individuals, the auricular nerve is the afferent limb of the Ear-Cough or Arnold Reflex.[2] Physical stimulation of the external acoustic meatus innervated by the auricular nerve elicits a cough, much like the other cough reflexes associated with the vagus nerve.
    Vagus Nerve -- It also has some afferent fibers that innervate the inner (canal) portion of the outer ear, via the Auricular branch (also known as Alderman's nerve) and part of the meninges. This explains why a person may cough when tickled on their ear (such as when trying to remove ear wax with a cotton swab).

    still don't be inserting qtips into your ear

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    Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Raneados wrote: »
    still don't be inserting qtips into your ear

    I'm curious, but why not?

    I've been shoving q-tips way down my ear canals every morning for... I don't know, 8+ years? It just feels so good and I itch like hell if I don't do it.

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Because ear wax is important and removing it is bad.

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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I always thought it had something to do with the likelihood of damaging your eardrums or other ear parts or somesuch, also I think you're a lot more likely to plug up your ears with wax if you do it.


    And I totally do it eventhough I know I shouldn't.

    Djeet on
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    finalflight89finalflight89 Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Yeah, I have no problem sticking these IEM's pretty deep into my ear canals. And I routinely clean my ears about as deep as these go in with Qtips.

    aKgOH.jpg

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    FiggyFiggy Fighter of the night man Champion of the sunRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Well, ear buds technically aren't good for your ears, either. Your ear drums weren't designed so that sound needed to be emanating from a speaker inside your ear.
    “I have an audiologist friend at Witchita State University who actually pulls off earphones of students he sees and, in the interest of science, asks if he can measure the output of the signal going into their heads,” said Garstecki. He found that often students were listening at 110 to 120 decibels.

    “That’s a sound level that’s equivalent to the measures that are made at rock concerts,” said Garstecki, chairman of Northwestern’s communication sciences and disorders department. “And it’s enough to cause hearing loss after only about an hour and 15 minutes.”

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    saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Is there anything that is good for your ears?

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    reddeathreddeath Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    OP I get the same thing when I clean my ears with Q-tips, my doctor recommended I use them(stopped using q-tips and started getting ear infections yay!) to keep my ears dry because they were staying wet and getting irritated after showering, she told me the coughing is because you're stimulating a nerve that doesn't get prodded a whole lot.

    Her advice to me was be gentle and don't stab myself in the eardrum.

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    spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    saltiness wrote: »
    Is there anything that is good for your ears?
    Someone else's mouth.

    spool32 on
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    TerrendosTerrendos Decorative Monocle Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    If you really need to clean the inside of your ear, there's a solution you can use that dissolves the wax a bit, and it tends to come with a bulb that you can use to squirt water into the ear to flush out any loose earwax. It's called Murine Ear or something I think, you can find it at the drug store.

    Terrendos on
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    DeusfauxDeusfaux Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    been cleaning inside ears / into canal with q-tip daily for 20+ years now

    never punctured or injured ear drum

    never had an ear infection

    never harmed my hearing (have better hearing than pretty much anyone I know)

    never been embarassed by having disgusting globs of wax in ears

    just be slow and careful and don't do it around unpredictable other moving things, and dont be moving around a bunch yourself

    Deusfaux on
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    Page-Page- Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I figured it was some nerve that was getting bothered, just didn't know which one.

    It doesn't happen when I use earbuds, or least not any earbuds I've ever used, just when I'm cleaning my ears.

    Nice to know.

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Deusfaux wrote: »
    been cleaning inside ears / into canal with q-tip daily for 20+ years now

    never punctured or injured ear drum

    never had an ear infection

    never harmed my hearing (have better hearing than pretty much anyone I know)

    never been embarassed by having disgusting globs of wax in ears

    just be slow and careful and don't do it around unpredictable other moving things, and dont be moving around a bunch yourself

    I mean, sure, I guess your personal experience can completely overrule advice from every ENT out there.

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    FiggyFiggy Fighter of the night man Champion of the sunRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    But the advice is given because it's easier to tell everyone not to do it than expect people to not go fucking crazy and cause damage. If you're careful, there's nothing wrong with cleaning the outter ear and very slightly inside. But you tell people that, and then they go puncture their ear drum because people are dumb and clumsy.

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    BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Deusfaux wrote: »
    been cleaning inside ears / into canal with q-tip daily for 20+ years now

    never punctured or injured ear drum

    never had an ear infection

    never harmed my hearing (have better hearing than pretty much anyone I know)

    never been embarassed by having disgusting globs of wax in ears

    just be slow and careful and don't do it around unpredictable other moving things, and dont be moving around a bunch yourself

    I mean, sure, I guess your personal experience can completely overrule advice from every ENT out there.

    Fuck, the back of the box of Q-Tips even says, in big bold letters, DO NOT STICK INTO EAR CANAL!

    Burtletoy on
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